Hawks put more misery on Kings
THE NBL season is five rounds old, but Sydney's playoff aspirations are in doubt after a tough 93-83 loss to Illawarra, leaving the Kings stranded in last place.
Andrew Gaze's men were aiming to breathe life into their campaign by sweeping the Hawks 3-0 this year, but they fell short in another tight derby.
In the end diminutive Hawks guard Rotnei Clarke (pictured) proved the difference with his potent shooting from the perimeter.
Clarke finished with a game-high 29 points, including five of eight from beyond the arc, but it was his pinpoint shooting in the final quarter that guided Illawarra to the win.
Clarke dropped 14 points to ensure the Hawks ended the round with back-to-back wins after their blowout victory over Brisbane on Friday.
Forward Nick Kay also contributed 17 points and seven rebounds, while fellow big man Demitrius Conger had 10 points and a valuable eight rebounds.
Sadly for Sydney, it was the same old story.
You can't deny the Kings' effort, but they lack presence in the paint and the third import centre can't come soon enough.
Veteran swingman Brad Newley did his best to inspire Sydney with 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Import forward Perry Ellis continued his impressive scoring form with a team-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, while forward Todd Blanchfield dropped 14 points.
Emerging centre Isaac Humphries also added 10 points, but at 19 he desperately needs help in the paint.
Jason Cadee had a mixed night celebrating his 200th NBL game with only five points, while he copped a heavy hit in the first half.
The Kings will look to respond when they travel to Melbourne next Saturday night to take on competition heavyweights United.
NBL scores: Kings 83 Hawks 93; Taipans 70 Breakers 73; Melb Utd 101 36ers 84; Wildcats 93 Kings 69; Bullets 81 Hawks 112; Melb Utd 87 Taipans 75; Breakers 92 36ers 88.